Loo falls to vandalism
VIOLENT vandalism of a public toilet in Oranga has seen it out of action for five years and now plans are in place to move it from the troubled spot.
The $80,000 Novaloo toilet block – next to the Oranga Community Centre and Fergusson Domain – was built in January 2004. It closed three months later because of weekly vandalism attacks.
Damage included the door mechanism being broken, toilet bowls and basins being smashed, light fittings removed and plumbing stolen, says Auckland City Council manager of parks services Mark Bowater.
He says continual repairs cost the council between $1000 and $2000 per vandalism strike, depending on what was damaged.
Despite being shut down, the toilets have continued to be targeted.
Local resident Te Awhi Cooper says during Guy Fawkes last week, youngsters were stuffing lit fireworks through a gap above the toilet door to magnify the explosive sound.
“It makes a big boom. You can hear it way down by the shops.
“Because it’s a low socioeconomic area, vandalism is prevalent and there are a high number of youths.”
She says the two-toilet complex is also prone to graffiti, with council staff visiting regularly to remove it.
Ms Cooper says there are toilets inside the community centre but outside of hours the nearest public toilets are a five minute drive away.
“You wouldn’t bother walking, you’d just go home.
“You feel sorry for people who play sports here,” she says.
She says the council should have considered what type of toilets would fit the area and built something less prone to vandalism.
Maungakiekie Community Board chairwoman Bridget Graham says she’s aware of the long-term problems with the toilet.
She says it would be fixed for a couple of days and then get vandalised again.
“Finally the council got sick and tired of it. The good law-abiding majority suffer from the antics of a few who don’t care.”
She says she’s unsure what the weapon of choice was but says it could have been a hammer because the damage was “serious vandalism”.
“It is not cheap to replace.”
Mr Bowater says the Oranga toilet will be refurbished and relocated to another site in the next couple of months.
“There are no plans to replace the toilet at this site because it is not sustainable to continue to provide a public toilet in a location where it is repeatedly vandalised.”
He says most public toilets are built in a similar way with robust fittings.
Repeat problems: Local mother Te Awhi Cooper, with daughter Quinesha, says this toilet block in Oranga has not been working for several years.